disease characterized by the abnormal growth of cells in the cervix, the region of the uterus that joins the vagina. Cervical cancer was once a common cause of cancer deaths in women, but fatalities have been greatly reduced since the development of the Pap smear in the 1940s. Cervical cancer is still fairly common; in some developing countries it occurs more often than breast cancer and is the most common form of cancer among women in these countries.
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